First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Frank Olivo: My wife is a doctor that works in an ICU, so she has been treating COVID patients since the arrival of the pandemic to NJ. We’ve been greatly impacted. Her team has done an amazing job of treating these patients, but it has required constant phone calls, meetings, 12-16 hour shifts, and her complete focus on work, so it’s been tough on all of us, but we’re proud of the impact her work has had.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sagapixel.
Frank Olivo: I have been doing SEO for about 10 years, but founded Sagapixel in 2017. I started in 1998 at an internet marketing firm in NY, left the industry in 2000, and then got back into digital marketing in 2006 when I began building websites and doing social media marketing.
How does Sagapixel innovate?
Frank Olivo: The SEO industry is largely mature, but some areas allow for innovation. Our focus has been on developing processes and practices that will lower the barriers to entry to deliver client work, and this has been the area in which we’ve innovated the most. As you can imagine, SEO requires a wide array of highly technical skills that can take a long time to acquire, but by slicing up the SEO process into specialized roles, we’ve been able to reduce the necessary amount of training needed to bring on a new team member.
In other words, we have SEO specialists whose role is entirely focused on the email outreach portion of link building. We have other team members that focus strictly on content planning and keyword research. We have others that only handle local SEO strategy.
The processes we have implemented are innovative in that they allow people to deliver quality SEO that otherwise would not be able to deliver commercial-grade services. Basically, we’re applying the practices that allowed the industrial revolution to happen to digital marketing.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Frank Olivo: We had an initial dip of ~20% of our revenue in March and April, but recovered in May and June.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Frank Olivo: “Difficult choices” usually means laying off team members, which we didn’t have to do. We received a PPP loan that helped us to keep everyone working despite the dip in business.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Sagapixel in the future?
Frank Olivo: Regular exercise is a must. I notice a difference in my mental state when I don’t engage in physical activity. As far as the company’s future, we’re growing at around 70% each year, and while I do expect that growth to slow a bit each year, I see us continuing to grow while maintaining quality.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Frank Olivo: There are tons of SEO consultants, SEO agencies, and SEO consultants posing as agencies out there. In a way, we’re competing with all of them.
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